One Week Back at Home

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Allison Derrick
May 16, 2024

It’s hard to believe I have already been home for a full week, and yet it feels like I didn’t even leave! My flight home was great, direct from Rome to Boston with Ella in the seat next to me, then took the bus home to Portland. Besides my suitcase handle breaking once we landed and having to stack our suitcases together to wheel through passport control, everything went perfectly and I got to reunite with my whole family and puppy that afternoon. 

It was surprising how smoothly the transition back went. I switched my normal SIM card back in, putting the Italian one in my wallet as a keepsake, and my Verizon service immediately connected back to my old phone number with no issue. It was weird how quickly everything went back to normal. Even when I move back from campus, I usually take a few days to get used to being home, but this felt like no time passed. My house looked almost exactly the same, my room was untouched, and my car was where I left it in the driveway. I got back around 5pm last Thursday, so I ate dinner with my family and went to bed early to try and fight the jet lag. It wasn’t even that bad, besides getting tired in the middle of the day. I’ve done one day at work, brought my car to get inspected, met with my friend for coffee and a catch-up, called my school friends, and caught up on some job things for this summer. It’s been busy, but not a super eventful week at the same time. 

I can’t quite process that my semester abroad happened; I already feel like I’ve been home for a month, but in a good way. Things are refreshingly normal and I don’t feel out of place here at all. It was a relief to see the slow-moving highways of Maine again and see the woods and my favorite view of my backyard from my bedroom window. I’m pretty sure my dog doesn’t remember I was gone for nearly four months, either. 

It’s been a comforting week of looking at Rome pictures, feeling sad and texting and missing my roommates, catching up with my family, and settling back into my routines. One thing I’ve noticed since being abroad is that everything is more exciting. It’s hard to explain, but being abroad opened my eyes to the entire world around me and helped me learn to stay present, wherever I go. This week I went for an amazing run through my neighborhood, I went to the grocery store in my town, and tried a new coffee shop with my friend. I don’t see anything at all as dull or boring, and the little outings and moments with my family and friends are even more special now. I feel as though abroad opened my eyes a bit more to what’s around me and how to appreciate it while it is. 

I will say, returning to the prices here was a rude awakening. Rome was very easy on our budgets in terms of groceries and getting dinner out, but here everything seems to cost about five times more. That will be an adjustment for sure, but it's definitely doable. Rome must just be too good to be true!

I think the sadness of missing Rome will hit me when I’m not expecting it. Right now I feel a bit like I’m sleepwalking, falling perfectly back into my Maine routines and back to business as usual. I already miss Rome of course, but at the same time I feel completely content to be home and hanging out with my family and friends. It’s kind of great how quickly my Maine life came back. I think it makes the bittersweet ending of the semester a little less painful. If I slow down and think about it, I know I’ll be overcome with missing my friends and memories from abroad. 

And I do already miss plenty of the daily details from this semester. I miss the walk up to my apartment, our shaky elevator that we had to squeeze into, and even how we’d knock hopefully at the door for someone to answer, before wrestling open the lockbox to get our key out. I miss how we’d hear the piano floating up the stairs from the music school in our building’s basement, and I miss how the fourth floor always seemed to be cooking a gourmet meal when we passed by to go up to our apartment. I miss hanging up our towels on the line and seeing all the life going on in our courtyard below us. I miss walking past the Irish pub on the corner whose servers eventually recognized us and knew that we were hoping for a table in the back where we could order fries and play cards. There were so many tiny details that made this time in Rome as special as it was, and I’m sure they’ll come back to me now and then and catch me off guard. I am in a very fortunate position where my semester abroad was a wonderful experience, and yet returning home was something I was still excited for. 

For now, as I get reacquainted with the slow, quiet Maine lifestyle, I can look back on Rome and know that it was just right. I wouldn’t have changed a single thing. 


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Allison Derrick

Hi, I'm Allison! I’m from Maine and a big fan of iced chai lattes, taking pictures with my 2011 digital camera, some good throwback music, and falling asleep on the beach. I'm in search of finding the very best pasta and gelato in Italy, so join me!

2024 Spring
Home University:
Lafayette College
Environmental Studies
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